TRNS News Notes is brought to you by Victoria Jones. Victoria Jones is the Chief White House correspondent and global analyst of the Washington DC based Talk Radio News Service, where her insight and analysis are made available to over 400 news talk radio stations around the country and internationally.

 
News Now
  • Paris raid: 2 dead, 7 arrested – developing
  • House rushes to halt refugees
  • Obama admin defends Syrian refugee program
  • Pols battle over refugees
  • Paris attacks: Developments
  • Lynch: Screening process “robust”
  • Jindal quits GOP presidential campaign
  • Was man shot by Minneapolis police restrained?
 
Paris Raid: 2 Dead, 7 Arrested – Developing (BBC, AP, Reuters, me)
• A woman wearing an explosive suicide vest blew herself up today as heavily armed police tried to storm a suburban Paris apartment where the suspected mastermind of last week’s attacks was believed to be holed up, police said. A source says the suspects in the raid planned an attack on the Paris business district – story is developing and will change
 
• They said one man was also killed and seven people arrested in the standoff, which began before dawn and continued more than five hours later. At least one person remained holed up in the apartment. A senior police official said he believed Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian ISIS militant, was inside the apartment with five other heavily armed people
 
•  No hostages were being held. A 7-year-old police dog named Diesel was killed during the standoff, in the historic suburb of St Denis. Another man and woman were detained near the apartment, the Paris prosecutor’s office said in a statement. At least three police officers have been “lightly injured,” officials said
 
• Amine Guizani, a witness, said he heard the sound of grenades and automatic gunfire. “They were shooting for an hour. Nonstop. There were grenades. It was going, stopping. Kalashnikovs. Starting again,” Guizani said. Raw video with gunshots of raid (AP)
 
• Sporadic bangs and explosions continued and at 7.30 am at least seven explosions shook the center of St Denis. Police said before the raids that they were hunting for two fugitives suspected of taking part as well as any accomplices. That would bring the number of Friday’s attackers to at least nine – authorities had previously said at least eight were involved

 

• Two Air France flights bound for Paris from the U.S. were diverted for several hours on Tuesday following anonymous bomb threats, and more than 700 passengers and crew were safely taken off the planes, officials said: Flight 65 from LA and Flight 55 from Dulles, Washington DC (Reuters)
 
House Rushes to Halt Refugees (Hill, Politico, me)
• The GOP-led House is rushing to vote Thursday on legislation that would temporarily (hmmm) halt the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the U.S. Republican lawmakers say they’re feeling enormous pressure to act before they leave town Thursday for a 10-day Thanksgiving recess (hastily written bills often turn out to be rubbish written bills)
 
• A counterterrorism task force, led by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif), huddled Tuesday. After the meeting, McCarthy said the House would vote Thursday on a bill by Rep Richard Hudson (R-NC). The bill would require refugees from Syria to go through FBI background checks for the Dept of Homeland Security to guarantee that they aren’t security threats
 
• Some GOP lawmakers want leadership to be more aggressive; 55 House Republicans have signed a letter demanding a rider in the 11 Dec spending bill that would strip funding for the Obama admin’s plans to accept 10,000 more refugees from Syria. But House GOP leaders appear to prefer to avoid a confrontation over govt shutdown – at this time (still time)

 

• In Manila today, President Obama lit into Republicans who want to clamp down on refugees. “Apparently they’re scared of widows and orphans coming into the USA as part of our tradition of compassion. At first they were worried about the press being too tough on them during debates. Now they’re worried about three-year-old orphans. That doesn’t sound very tough to me.” (Politico)
 
• Speaking to reporters earlier Tuesday, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis) called the Paris attacks “pure evil” and an “act of war.” He called for a “pause” on the Syrian refugee program until tighter restrictions are put in place – a message echoed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (pause was the word du jour) (R-Ky)
 
• Sen Chuck Schumer (D-NY), said a pause might be “necessary,” though he wants to attend a classified Senate briefing today before rendering a final verdict.House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif), however, said “it would betray our proudest values as Americans to slam the door in the face of desperate mothers seeking a safe place for their children.”
 
• A Syrian passport was found near the body of one of the Friday Paris attackers. It indicated that he had recently arrived in Greece and had traveled through Serbia. However, analysts believe it likely that ISIS planted the passport and wanted it found to turn Europeans and others against Muslim refugees (it’s working out a treat)
 
 
Obama Admin Defends Syrian Refugee Program (Politico, Hill, me)
• Obama admin officials pushed back Tuesday in a conference call with reporters against GOP governors, 2016ers and lawmakers who are demanding a ban on Syrian refugees. The officials said Syrian refugee applicants undergo “enhanced review,” and those who work on such cases go through additional training (GOPers later said they weren’t impressed)
 
• According to the admin officials, the refugee vetting process takes an average of 18-24 months, and for Syrians it often takes longer because they face additional scrutiny. They’re first screened through the UN, which has its own vetting procedures. If they’re referred to the U.S. for possible admission, they’re then screened through a whole new process
 
• That involves checking their biographic and biometric data, as well as lengthy interviews and background checks involving multiple federal agencies, including the Dept of Homeland Security, the FBI, the DoD and intel agencies. Some of the procedures involved are classified. Later Tuesday, WH officials held a conf call with governors from 34 states
 
• One way officials can verify their stories is to double check the events they claim happened to them with intel and other known data about what was happening in Syria at the time. So if a Syrian says his home in a particular neighborhood was bombed on a particular date, it’s likely the DoD or other agencies can check to see if a bombing was reported there at that time (duh)
 
• The admission rate so far is just over 50%; the rest are either rejected or have their cases still pending, an official said. Of the Syrians admitted, half are children and a quarter are adults over 60; around 2% of Syrians admitted so far are military-aged males unattached to families. Religious breakdown was not immediately clear; roughly 10% of Syrians are Christian

 

• Senate Intelligence Committee chair Richard Burr (R-NC) and senior Democrat Dianne Feinstein (Calif) said Tuesday the country was likely put at greater risk by millions of foreigners easily entering the country through a visa waiver program designed for tourists than by refugees. Those tourists undergo minimal background checks, the pols said – 20 million last year (Hill)
 
Pols Battle Over Refugees (Reuters, Hill, Hill, Hill, me)
• GOP 2016er Donald Trump said to conservative radio host Laura Ingraham Tuesday, “They send them to the Republicans, you know because they know the problem…why would we want to bother the Democrats?” (only prob with that, Donnie, is that there are 31 Republican governors compared with 18 Democratic ones, so bound to be more going to GOP states)
 
• Rep Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill) said in a House floor speech that denying refugee status to Syrians trying to flee ISIS is “despicable and cowardly and precisely the kind of reaction ISIS wanted. ISIS could not have written a better script…When we sent Jews back to Germany and when we sent Japanese to internment camps, we regretted it, and we will regret this as well.”
 
• “We’re talking about people who have to prove that if they don’t get refugee relief, they may die, they may be tortured. And so I don’t believe America intends to close its doors to folks like that,” Rep Joseph Crowley (D-NY) said at a presser, adding that the GOP’s response is a “knee-jerk” reaction “based on fear and … politics.”
 
• Sen John McCain (R-Ariz) said, “I don’t think any child, whether they are Christian or whether they are atheist or whether they are Buddhist, that we should make a distinction. My belief is that all children are God’s children.” “Are we going to differentiate children by their religion? I don’t think so.” (gotta love McCain going against it – rather, going against Cruz)
 
• 2016er former Gov Jeb Bush (R-Fla) broke with rivals calling for a ban on all Syrian refugees on Tuesday. On a conference call with business leaders, he said: “My heart goes out to the refugees and I do think we have a noble tradition of supporting refugees. But the screening process needs to be … difficult and we err on the side of caution.”

• Where are the refugees? Interactive: Where the 1,854 Syrian refugees admitted to the U.S. since 2012 were placed (NYT)

 
Paris Attacks: Developments (AP, Hill, NYT, Reuters, Reuters, TRNS, TRNS, me)
• Tuesday, French and Russian warplanes pounded Raqqa, ISIS’s self-declared capital in Syria. ISIS militants have claimed responsibility for the carnage which left 129 people dead and over 350 wounded in Paris on Friday night
 
• French and Belgian police were already looking for a key suspect, 26-year-old Salah Abdeslam. Seven attackers died in the assault Friday night, but it now seems clear that at least nine directly took part in the attacks. Iraqi intel officials have said their sources indicated 19 people participated in the attacks and five others provided hands-on logistical support
 
• The French govt invoked a never-before-used article of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty obliging members of the 28-nation bloc to give “aid and assistance by all the means in their power” to a member country that is “the victim of armed aggression on its territory.” The Greek defense minister said in Brussels, “This is Sept 11 for Europe.”
 
• Paris police said earlier Tuesday that 16 people had been arrested in connection to the deadly attacks, and police had carried out 104 raids since a state of emergency was declared Saturday. In Moscow, President Putin ordered the missile cruiser Moskva to start cooperating with the French military on operations in Syria
 
 

• Extraordinary sight: A packed Wembley stadium in London Tuesday night sang the French national anthem, La Marseillaise, English and French football fans roaring it out together before a friendly game. The two squads then came together around the center circle to observe impeccably a minute’s silence on the pitch. England won 2-0

 

• Moscow has vowed to hunt down those responsible for blowing up a Russian passenger plane over Egypt last month, killing 224 people, mostly Russian tourists. ISIS has also claimed responsibility for the 31 Oct attack
 
• SecState John Kerry flew to France as a gesture of solidarity and met President Francois Hollande and FM Laurent Fabius Tuesday. A cease-fire between Syria’s govt and the opposition could be just weeks away, Kerry said, describing it as potentially a “gigantic step” towards deeper international cooperation against ISIS
 
• Kerry’s comments to staff at the American embassy in Paris that there was a “rationale” to the Charlie Hebdo attacks whereas Friday’s attacks were “absolutely indiscriminate” provoked backlash from Republicans. (note: rationale doesn’t mean the same thing as justification – it means rationale to them – was clear from context Kerry wasn’t agreeing with the attackers)
 
• Hollande will meet with President Obama in Washington next Tuesday the 24th to push for a concerted drive against Daesh or ISIS, which controls swathes of Syria. Hollande will visit Putin in Moscow on 26 Nov. Hollande also spoke with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, who backed calls for a united front against the militants. Rouhani is a strong ally of Syria’s Assad

 

• Interactive: Finding the links among the Paris attackers (NYT)

• German police arrested seven people, including two women, near the western city of Achen, but later released them, saying no links to the attacks were found. Another Belgian car with a shattered passenger window was found in northern Paris – the third vehicle police identified as having links to the attacks


 
• A friendly soccer game between Germany and Netherlands which German Chancellor Angela Merkel was due to attend in Hanover was called off two hours before its scheduled start on Tuesday over fears of a planned bombing. There were no arrests made and no explosives were found
 
• Germany’s top security official said a Syrian passport found with one of the Paris attackers may have been planted to make Europeans fearful of refugees. He told reporters in Berlin it was “unusual that such a person was faithfully registered in Greece, Serbia and Croatia” amid the chaos of Europe’s immigration crisis (see Tuesday’s News Notes for story)
 
• Federal Communications Commissions chair Tom Wheeler shot down suggestions that the agency could take down websites used by ISIS and other terrorist groups. He told a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee that he can use the FCC’s bully pulpit to press tech CEOs on the issue, however

• With the meetings next week between Obama, Hollande and Putin, and now that British PM David Cameron is going back to parliament to try to get buy-in for strikes in Syria, could we be seeing the beginning of a genuine international/global force coming together to defeat Daesh? This is the only solution (me)

 

Lynch: Screening Process “Robust” (Politico, WaPo, AP, me)
• Attorney General Loretta Lynch told the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, “Certainly there are challenges to that
[screening] process because of the situation in Syria. But I would note, however, that we do have the benefit of having that significant and robust screening process in place, a process that Europe has not been able to set up.” (risky words…)
 
• Lynch told the committee that protecting the U.S. from the threat of ISIS and other terrorist groups is the Dept of Justice’s top priority, adding that more than 70 people have been charged in the last twp years for alleged conduct related to foreign fighter activity and homegrown violent extremism
 
• Lynch was asked about the idea of transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay to U.S. prisons. “With respect to individuals being transferred to the United States, the law currently does not allow for that. And that is not, as I am aware of, going to be contemplated given the legal prescriptions,” she said (how’s that going to go down with the WH?)
 
• Lynch said there is “no data” to support the idea that the police are not aggressively protecting communities since increased use of videos and the focus on police tactics after the death of Michael Brown, something referred to as the “Ferguson effect.” Both FBI director James Comey and DEA administrator Chuck Rosenberg have suggested there’s a connection
 

• The two men report to her. “While certainly there might be anecdotal evidence there, as all have noted, there’s no data to support it, and what I have seen in my travels across this country is the dedication, the commitment and the resolve of our brave men and women in law enforcement to improving policing.”

 

• The Senate voted 52-46 on Tuesday to block President Obama’s tough new climate change regulations, hoping to undermine his negotiating authority before a major international climate summit meeting in Paris this month. The House is expected to pass a companion resolution – forcing a veto just as negotiations in Paris are beginning (NYT)

 

Jindal Quits GOP Presidential Campaign (NYT, Hill, me)
• Gov Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, a onetime rising Republican star whose popularity has plummeted in his own state, dropped out of the presidential race on Tuesday, conceding that he was unable to find any traction. “I’ve come to the realization this is not my time,” he said on Fox News (and it never will be)
 
• Jindal had unveiled a series of police proposals, ferociously attacked Donald Trump, and spent considerable time in Iowa. None of it worked. He raised little money, didn’t rise high enough in the polls to appear on the main debate stage and was overshadowed by unconventional candidates like Trump and Ben Carson
 
• “We cannot settle for The Left’s view of envy and division. We have to be the party that says everyone in this country – no matter the circumstances of their birth or who their parents are – can succeed in America,” he said. His more immediate challenge was likely money. He had just $261,000 on hand as of the start of October (ouch)
 
• Jindal, 44, the son of Indian immigrants, was first elected governor in 2007, two years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. He fell out of favor in a second term characterized by fiscal crises and frequent out of state travels. some 70% of Louisianans disapprove of his job performance, according to a University of New Orleans poll this month
 
• Jindal sued the federal govt to rid his state of Common Core, signed a controversial executive order meant to protect religious liberty in the state after similar legislation in other states provoked huge backlash, and has said Louisiana will not accept Syrian refugees in accordance with an Obama admin plan

Was Man Shot by Minneapolis Police Restrained? (AP, me)

• State investigators looking into the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black Minneapolis man during a scuffle are trying to determine whether he was restrained at the time, as some witnesses allege, an official said (here we go – let’s see the videos, shall we? press needs to start suing)
 
• Police initially said Jamar Clark wasn’t handcuffed when he was shot, but authorities later said handcuffs were at the scene and they were trying to determine whether Clark was restrained (what does “were at the scene” mean? lying around? on their own, having a latte?)
 
• The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the case, and the FBI has agreed to conduct a civil rights investigation of the shooting. That satisfied one of the protesters’ demands, but investigators haven’t met two others: the release of any video and the identities of the officers involved
 
• Police said the incident began when they were called to north Minneapolis around 12.45 am Sunday following a report of an assault. When they arrived, a man was interfering with paramedics helping the victim, police said. Officers tried to calm him, but there was a struggle. At some point, an officer fired at least once, hitting the man, police said
 
• None of several videos capture the entirety of the shooting, BCA superintendent Drew Evans said Tuesday. He said none of the videos will be released while the investigation is ongoing because it could taint the probe (nonsense). Evans said no police dash cam video existed. Also, the officers weren’t wearing body cameras

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___________________
Victoria Jones – Editor

TRNS’ Nicholas Salazar and Loree Lewis contributed to this report

 

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